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25 Pounder Short gun


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The 25 pounder Short Mark I, or Baby 25 pr, was an Australian pack gun version of the 25 pounder, first produced in 1943. This was a shortened version of the standard 25 pounder, mounted on the Carriage 25 pr Light, Mark 1. The Baby was intended for jungle warfare and was only used by Australian units in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II. The gun could be towed by a jeep or broken down into 13 sections and transported by air. During the New Guinea campaign the gun was manhandled up steep jungle tracks where trucks could not operate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gents,

 

212 built. Subject is well covered in:

Gower, S N: Guns of the Regiment

Mellor, DP: The Role of Science and Industry (Aust Official History series)

and my own book,:

 

Cecil, M K: Australian Field Artillery 1939 to 1945, AMEP Volume 1 (now out of print).

 

Surviving examples in much better/complete condition that the restored example at Mordialloc (yes the wheels are wrong, but Alex could not locate the correct ones) are held in public collections at:

 

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Army Museum, Bandiana

RAA Museum, (moving: temporarily closed: formerly at North Head, Sydney)

 

There are also a few in private collections.

 

One was sent to the UK for trials, evidently this is the one held in the Firepower Collection in the UK?

 

Regards

 

Mike C

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  • 1 year later...
Gents,

 

RAA Museum, (moving: temporarily closed: formerly at North Head, Sydney)

 

There are also a few in private collections.

 

One was sent to the UK for trials, evidently this is the one held in the Firepower Collection in the UK?

 

 

No, it was specifically donated to Firepower from Australia.

 

One or two were delivered to UK in the backend of WW2, UK did some improvements and it was to be formally classifed at Mk ? Ord on Mk 4? Carriage. Obviously the Mk 3 carriage was a far better option as long as you didn't want relatively easy breaking into loads.

 

At least some of the Aust gunners using it considered it a bit of a dog. It also had limited range, one of the things the UK mods corrected.

 

There's a bit more detail at http://nigelef.tripod.com/25pdrsheet.htm

 

"RAA Museum, (moving: temporarily closed: formerly at North Head, Sydney)" Ha ha, I do like a guy with a sense of humour.

Edited by watcher
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have this plate which I hope is the correct type as fitted to the 25pdr.Short. My 25pdr.Short is missing it's plates but has the No.207 on the inside top of the left trail attachment plate which also has B75 stamped on top. (The right trail attachment plate just has the no. 75 stamped into the top.) The number on the barrel jacket is A221.

 

I purchased this 25pdr.Short in 2006 from the Belfield auction. The plate I purchased on Ebay.

 

I guess my question is this :- Was the Short 25pdr. known as the 25pr.LIGHT, or is this plate off something else?

 

Regards Rick.

scan0209.jpg

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To All,

 

I've had a news cuttings scrapbook for many years, which was collated by someone at Charles Ruwolt P/L in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. They were the manufacturers of the 25pdr and the 25pdr short as well as other war materials.

The quality is not the best but may be of interest.

 

regards

 

Andrew B

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  • 6 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It probably had a range of 10, 500 yards compared to the full size one which was 13,400 yards firing Charge Super  and a muzzle velocity of 1,700 ft/sec . The "Short or Baby " 25 pdr  could be broken down on to 14 mule loads for use in that theatre of operations, ie the jungles of New Guinea .

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  • 10 months later...

Gents,

Been a while since I posted on this forum. 

Can somebody with access to a 25-pdr (Short) please make a measurement for me? 

I'm interested to know the vertical height of the saddle from the lower edge where it meets the trail to the centre line of the gun trunnion. Inches or mm - I might live in the USA these days, but I can work in either/both forms of measurement!

Thank you in anticipation.

Mike 

 

 

 

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My dad was a gunner  in the 2/7 Field Regiment RAA during WW2 firing 25pdrs. When they landed at  Tarakan they had 3 batteries of " normal " 25pdrs and 1 battery of "Baby" 25pdrs which they hauled thru the jungle to shoot the Japanese bunkers.

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That's interesting: the normal light or jungle scale regiment was 24 guns, made up of three Batteries of 8 guns - two of standard 25-pdrs and one of 25-pdr (Short), rather than 32 guns.  

Mike

 

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  • 1 year later...

The Short 25Pr is one of the more interesting guns in my opinion, although a bit of an evolutionary dead end.  From what I can tell, a lot of what has been written on them (including Mike's good work).  The source info appears to be the same, so published production figures are fairly consistent at 212 guns.

The development of the gun is not a subject I see written about in any detail, but I managed to have a long chat with the nephew of the gun's manufacturer.  The guns were developed and made at Charles Ruwolt's factory in Richmond - a suburb in Melbourne Victoria.  Charles was an outstanding production engineer, and was constantly prowling the factory floor applying new design modifications on the spot. As a result, very few of the surviving guns are identical.  This would may seem to be a nightmare from the configuration control perspective, but all assemblies remained interchangeable over the two year production life of the gun (1943-44).

About 15 years ago I conducted a survey of all known surviving guns and parts bearing numbers, and was surprised to find that they were inconsistent with the accepted history (for want of any challenge to the original source material).

The gist is that there appears to have been at least 225 guns produced that achieved an official Registration number, so the question of "what does the figure of 212 refer to??" is a good one.

In my research, I had the good fortune of talking to the elderly MAJGEN John Whitelaw, who was a junior officer in the RAA during WW2.  It so happened that his father was the MAJGEN RAA involved in the Short 25Pr project.  MAJGEN Whitelaw (Jr) was a keen artillery historian and provided me with several photos of the Short 25 Pr gun development from his father's collection.  

One photo was of the original prototype constructed at Ruwolt's showing a sawn-off 25Pr with 2 Pr wheels.  It was clearly cobbled together, as you would expect, from available 25Pr and 2Pr parts with some cutting here and there, but trail length being the same as the standard gun.

The next two prototypes constructed were tested at Fort Gellibrand, and there are several photos of this pair available in the AWM photo database.

The next prototype batch of 12 guns were closer to the production guns, and featured a shield and muzzle cone, but had the full length trail joined by horizontal cross pins of the earlier prototypes. One of these guns is pictured next to a standard gun in talltom's 2019 post above. Note also a number of unfitted shields leaning against the wall. There was a very wide variety of experimentation done with these guns, from troop trials in New Guinea (lots of photos of this in AWM's photo database), to extended height saddles to get a mortar-like trajectory, and aircraft balloon tyres,  and generally lots of small design refinements.

The other interesting thing about the third prototype run was that they were assigned production numbers and were accepted by the army with Registration numbers, however, these numbers are out of sync by three, indicating that all prototypes were assigned a production number, but that the first three prototypes were not accepted by Army.

This numbering sequence continues into the first of the production guns, being the officially accepted 25Pr, Short, Mk.I, so the first production gun is production number A16, Registered number A13 (lucky?).

The production and Registered numbers go in lockstep initially, but it becomes more ragged as the production numbers rise.  The second run of guns (Carriage 25Pr Short, Mk.I/1) have the production number commence at 'B1', but registration numbers continue the sequence from the first run.   With Rick's example, his gun is the second pattern with machined rather than riveted cradle.  It is the 75th gun of the second run (hence B75), but the allocation of the Registration number by Army is A207 rather than the expected(?) A199. 

My example is Production number B3 with Registration number A224, with cradle A225.  My gun was one of the first of the second production run, but was one of the last (if not the last) to be delivered to Army for registration.  It obviously sat on the factory floor until the production run had finished, so contributed to the discrepancies between the production and registration numbers from early in the second run, 

The production number is stamped on both sides of the trail joint, and the Registration number is obviously on the brass  Registration fixed to the left side of the saddle.  The Registration number is also stamped on the recoil cradle as well. 

So, where did the number 212 come from? 112 first model(Mk.I) and 100 second model (Mk.I/1)?  Maybe this was the number of production guns rather than prototypes, but it ignores the fact that the prototypes were accepted and Registered and used by the Army.  The list I have compiled indicates that the survival rate for the gun type, rare as it is, is quite good, so I wa able to achieve a good sample size.  Using actual serial and production numbers suggests that the 212 number is not quite as simple to explain as that.

Anyway, probably enough for now...

 

ATB,  D.

 

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Interesting information and analysis, Watercart, particularly the very high numbering of your example. Is the A224 number on the ordnance or the carriage? I agree with you about the myriad of changes incorporated during manufacture, particularly during the early stages, and the 'mismatch' of ordnance and carriage numbers. My more recent work has placed the total number at 213 based upon actual requirements and issued manufacturing orders:

1 prototype, which underwent several modifications particularly in the early stages.

12 improved prototypes/pre-production prototypes, some of which were used for troop trials,

100 production 'Ordnance, QF, 25-pdr, Short (Aust) Mk.I on Carriage 25-pdr Light (Aust) Mk.I'

100 production 'Ordnance, QF, 25-pdr, Short (Aust) Mk.I on Carriage 25-pdr Light (Aust) Mk.II'

Total: 213.

I contend that the actual proportion of Mk 1 and Mk2 production guns is not 100:100, but somewhat different. This is explained in reasonable detail in my soon-to-be-released book 'Fire! The 25 Pounder in Australian Service', published by Trackpad Publishing.  Shameless plug, I know: https://www.trackpadpublishing.com/fire-the25-pounder I think it also might go some way to explaining why you have such a high numbered example.

The image in Talltoms post: I can see an Australian 17-pdr Anti-tank gun double air-spaced shield leaning against the wall at the right of frame - I don't see another 25-pdr Short shield in that image.

Regards

Mike

 

 

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Mike, 

although I have a mountain of stuff unpacked from a recent house move, the boxes with the Short 25 material were miraculously near the top, so I can answer your questions and clarify a couple of my observations made above.

Firstly, the shield against the wall is indeed for a 17 Pr.

Consulting the list of observed examples, there was a consistent dislocation of three between Registered number and Production number in the Mk.I carriages, eg, Rego A26 has production number A29 and Rego A 104 has a production number of A107.  

As for the "improved prototypes", the Rego and production numbers were the same, at least up to A8.  It is pretty clear that the Rego and production numbering of the officially accepted Mk.I carriage continued directly from the "improved Prototypes", so presumably the first rego number for the Mk.I carriage would have been A13 by that reckoning.  At what point the dislocation between Rego and production numbers happened I don't know, but Rego A15 had production number A19, and Rego A26 has production number A29.  My reference to the discrepancy in the improved prototypes was poor recollection abetted by one of the data plates on Rego A8 bearing the inscription "No.11".  This was the saddle designation number rather than a production number.

 

On that basis, it looks like there may have been some kerfuffle around the last of the improved prototypes and the first of the production model Mk.Is.  The simple explanation is that three guns produced by the factory were not accepted into service and therefore not registered.  What guns could these have been?  Well, I don't know, but I would have a couple of suggestions, being the high saddle model and maybe the one using Beaufort aircraft wheels.

As far as production chronology goes, Rego 22's recoil block is dated 20 March 1943 and Rego A 104 is definitely a Mk.I carriage with its recoil block is dated 20 Sep 1944.

The earliest Mk.2 carriage I have listed is Rego A139 with a production number of B23.  If Mk.2 production kicked off at Rego A113 and production number B1, then that is sort of in the ballpark.  However, the Rego vs production number correlation, such as it is, becomes really scrappy and out of sequence. 

 

I have confirmed that the Mk.II carriage Rego 224 has the recoil block for gun Rego A225.  as this would appear to be the number applied by the Army / MGO(?) then it would seem that there was at least 225 Short 25s accepted.

Going back to the transition period between the improved prototypes and the accepted production Mk.I, there was a lot going on in terms of converging the prototype design to the production design.

 

More later... 

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Well Damien, we will just have to agree to disagree on the total number of 25-pdr Short complete guns manufactured. Nothing I see in the paperwork supports more than 213 complete guns in total, but the data does go quite some way in explaining the differences/discontinuities in numbering of major components assembled into a complete gun, a matter I do deal with in my new book.

Moreover, I cannot see Ruwolt's continuing to manufacture complete guns in excess of the authorised number in each contract without authority just because they thought it was a good idea. Quite the contrary: Charles Ruwolt was a hard negotiator who, once the deal was struck, stuck rigidly to the contract terms: just look at his 'hard charging' involvement in the Cruiser tank project as a prime example. So unless I've missed a follow-up contract (which I doubt), there is nothing in what I have on the subject that points to more than 213 complete guns in total, and that includes the totals for each contract as listed in the post-contract audits.

Have you factored in the manufacture of numbered spares unique to the 25-pdr Short, such as recoil/recuperator blocks, spare barrels and spare jackets, for each of the contracts?  

Mike

 

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